Monday, January 10, 2011

Natural Governance

Natural Governance is the outcome of designing governance from the ground up.  The principles are similar to anarchist ideals, but also the ideals of democracy we are led to believe exist in grade school or from politicians.  These principles are:

  • Free Association by equal members.  Administrators are elected to serve the membership rather than rule over them.
  • Minimization of sovereignty.  Protection of membership from external aggression does not imply protection of the rulership from change or influence.
  • Secession and recall must be a recourse for freely associated members to maintain freedom.
  • Recognition of points of corruption in politics and rulerships.  The ease of empty promises, capturing unnaccountable regulators, and serving powerful interests ahead of social interests.

The primary solution is straightforward.  Independent governance silos as fine grained as practical, are to be elected on specific mandate and budgets.  This means that the head of the FDA and head of the military are each elected and accountable to the people and court review of their chosen budget and mandate, and have no relationship to each other or to a greater hierarchy.

There is no need for a legislative branch.  All laws and regulations are created by existing or newly created accountable governance silos.  A proposed silo can be as simple as a study to examine the impact of proposed legislation or program or policy.  Legislative branches are incapable of providing checks and balances if they are loyal to political parties and/or the institution of government.

There is no need for voter anonymity.  Voters or their chosen delegates can base their votes on principle or bribes.  There are no fixed terms, so buying a vote is only useful until it is paid for.  No anonymity means voter fraud is less likely, and voting can be done remotely and electronically.  Support for a delegate or proposal can be withdrawn at any time.

A governance silo can apply regionally and supercede a larger regional/national regulations or associations.  Natural governance supercedes nations or even national associations, replacing hierarchical subservience with membership in multiple individual regulatory associations.  Membership in a regulatory association may still be democratically imposed on the minority.

The chaotic guidance of Invisible hands is what Adam Smith glorified in the free market.  Goods and services innovated and produced based on consumer acceptance.  Ideas to provide value (as efficiently as possible) to society are allowed to spring up without central planning or approval.  Natural Governance applies the same principles to social policy where voter choice of every idea and initiative is on each individual idea/initiative's merits, and efficient execution of policy is needed to keep voter-supported governance of that policy.  Academics and truth proponents can thus play a much stronger role in society evaluating proposals and directly shaping policy.

Capturing regulators (having the regulators serve the industry/groups it is charged in policing) is easy under a hierarchical state, because any corruption or inneffectuality of an agency has no repercussions on the elected government.  No US presidential campaign ever includes projected appointments and mandate of the SEC, FEC, or FDA.  Therefore, politics and contributors determine their mandates without any electoral consequences.  Natural Governance provides the mandate's proponent with the authority to execute the elected mandate, and thus complete accountability for it.

The state and society supposedly share the same values and goals, though the state unfairly asserts its primacy.  Weakening the state can enhance social value, and prominence of society in competition with others.  Natural Governance is thus of national strategic importance in achieving social and economic prominence and relative dominance  over competing societies, by the simple virtue of being more desirable to join and remain in such society.  The naive implication is that a weaker state makes a stronger nation, and everyone should warmly embrace the concept.

Regulation means all laws and powers, (and, distinct but related, the enforcement thereof).  With popular determined regulation, comes the possibility to regulate government/regulator power.  Governance silos require common enforcement resources.  Enforcement agency mandates should still be elected, but they have a simple honest administration mandate.  They exist mostly as a an efficiency mechanism that murder regulations and robbery regulations can be enforced more efficiently within the same police agency.  The enforcement agency's budget is the sum of all funding assigned by governance silos that utilize the agency.

The main regulation of the government silos comes from philosophical opposition to the silo's mandate.  While one person can head multiple silos, it can be easy to separate silos into narrow divisions.  For instance, the EPA can have individual silos for each industry.  Driving regulations can branch off pilot programs for radical theories promoting either sharp spikes fixed on drivers steering wheels, or uncontrolled intersections.  Philosophical objection to mandates is manifested by proposing narrower mandates, or proposing competing mandates that can be implemented in parallel or in pilot locations, and receiving electoral support to do so.  The other regulation of governance silos involves regulation of mandate and budget execution.  Court or electoral challenges can be made to recall or replace the silo administratorship based on execution failures of its electorally promised mandate.

Starting Points
The obvious starting point is to simply transform all agencies, departments and ministry heads into elected silo heads.  But one election option must be to remove a department or program.  We can model an egalitarian nation as an egalitarian enterprise.  Progressive taxation is universally supported on the grounds of wealth redistribution, which happens to serve the industrious by providing more customers with the means to purchase the economic value they contribute.  In practice however, relatively few funds are distributed to the less wealthy because they are instead spent on government programs, only some of which expensively determine who is to be given funds.  So an alternative starting point is to treat tax revenue as belonging in equal share to all citizens, and absent a reason to spend it, redistribute it to all in equal shares as "basic social income".  This is a marriage of progressive and libertarian ideals.  It also provides a universal safety net that lessens desperation and the opportunity to prey on desperation, and allows more risk taking.  This implies very static tax policies.

A libertarian myth is that community funded enterprise is necessarily inefficient.   "Government" provided services such as healthcare and roads have several cost efficiencies over private services.  Savings from lack of metering (measuring each consumers use), lack of a sales transaction (education and convincing time), lack of cash security and handling, and no built-in profit markup.  These advantages mean that it is completely feasible for public services to be approved by voters and seen as an attractive option and worth foregoing part of their share of basic social income to support those services.  At the same time, those services must be provided efficiently to continue receiving support, and an ever expanding wasteful empire becomes constrained.

The most obvious services that would likely be dropped in favour of higher basic income include welfare, unemployment insurance, old age assistance, and military offense expenditures.  The biggest problem with welfare and UI is that it provides a massive disincentive to work.  Working means losing benefits.  Basic income has no demonstrated-need conditions.  Fixed tax rates and basic income happen to self regulate the economy.  There's no need for minimum wage laws.  If basic income is sufficient to remove people from the labour pool, then the labour pool's bargaining power is raised, and may attract more people to the labour pool.  If the economy does poorly, and each's basic income goes down due to lower tax revenues, then again the labour pool will tend to go up out of necessity and wages adjust down to the economy.

One regulation model to rule them all
Government and private sectors have always been intertwined through regulation of the private sector.  A model that maximizes both access to services and efficiency and effectiveness of those services is to regulate standards for those services in exchange for partly subsidizing them for consumers and provide low interest loans (by the community/nation) to consumers for purchasing the service.  Healthcare and education are considered by most as essential social services.  The above formula guarantees access to those services to all.  However, by insisting on a personally accountable portion of the costs to service users, there is a "market" incentive for the user to verify that the service is at least useful if not necessary.  The mechanism promotes efficient and effective services, and curbs the most serious fraud opportunities (phantom services).  It further shifts much of the funding for public socially desirable services away from taxes and towards users.  This, in addition to being fair (users pay more than non users), has the advantage of making programs that benefit some groups more than others more palatable to be partly publicly funded (by all through elections).  User loans can use the natural finance soft loan concept of being repaid based on ability through what is tantamount to surtaxes on income.  Unregulated businesses can tap into soft loan financing for their customers as well.


  1. The statement, “Secession and recall must be a recourse for freely associated members to maintain freedom,” seems to conflict with this other statement, “Membership in a regulatory association may still be democratically imposed on the minority.”
    How can membership be imposed on someone who can secede? I think I am misunderstanding the proposal. Please clarify.

  2. It means imposed unless you secede. You agree to submit to a specific body of law as determined by the majority, but you should have access to secession from that body of law. I still need to publish my very major article on secession (soon), but secession on an issue isn't completely free, and not the same as "I disagree so I won't pay". The secessionist group should pay at minimum an administration fee to the incumbent.

    A bit of a preview is that it should be straight forward for you to secede out of drug prohibition on your property/community, and/or all driving regulations (also geographically constrained), but more complex to secede from air pollution regulations (that affect non-seceding neighbours) or to opt out of certain specific driving regulations.